By Teachers, For Teachers
You work hourly, daily, continually, and purposefully toward creating a school experience that is satisfying for your students. But what about you? What are you doing to ensure that your school is a wonderful place to teach as well as learn?
Here are 12 tips to help you make the most of your school days:
Amp Up Your School Social Life
1. Don’t Hunker Down: Escape from your classroom once in awhile.
While sometimes we need to insulate ourselves, take a quiet moment or maximize our classroom downtime, it’s also imperative that we actively, consistently, and intentionally seek time and space with peers. Use this brief change of scenery and moment away from the classroom to come up for air.
2. Let’s Do Lunch: Eat lunch with your peers, not alone at your desk.
The time you have in school is rarely your own. Lunch is one moment in your day when you get to seek others out. Don’t let this daily opportunity escape you.
3. Total BFFs: Make friends with colleagues.
According to Gallup, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. That means that laughing, talking, and sharing time with your colleagues is a part of your job! If this goal isn’t part of your priorities, it should be.
4. Make Peace, Not War: Resolve lingering personal conflicts with colleagues.
What degree of stress walks into the building with you each morning because of a workplace conflict with a colleague? How much energy and joy does this conflict sap from your overall satisfaction with teaching? How would your energy change if this conflict was resolved? You know the answers to these questions. Now go and address it!
Make the Most of Me Time
5. Pencil It In: Schedule moments in your days when you’re NOT available but are in control of your own space and time. Even for a moment.
Making time for yourself is not a bad thing. Catching your breath, taking a moment’s peace, and re-energizing is not only good for you, it’s good for your students and colleagues. They want you peaceful and focused!
6. Loosen the Digital Leash: DON’T email during every free moment.
Little by little, your computer may be eating away at what little spare time you have. Take a weekly technology audit of your time. How much “free” time are you spending on the computer? How else could you spend this time that would better feed you and your energy?
7. The Last Bell: Leave school while it’s still light out.
Are your friends and family happy you do this work? Do you have anything left for them at the end of the day? If not, you need to dedicate yourself to creating boundaries and expectations around your role as an educator that also allow you to play the role of spouse, parent, friend, and partner. Your friends and family will thank you. Your students will too.
8. Sgt. Sleep: Get enough sleep and be militant about this goal.
Even if you stayed up late working every night, your work would never be done. Your students can’t learn when they’re exhausted. You can’t teach when you are either.
Live and Learn Like a Kid (or at least how we tell them they should)
9. Extra-Curriculars: Pursue hobbies, passions, and interests in your own life in the same way that you hope your students do.
Teaching is your job. It’s probably your passion. But that’s not all you do or all you are. Makin time for your own pursuits is not only an important part of your own personal development, but also fulfills you in ways that you can then turn back to the people you serve.
10. The Kindness Boomerang: Say your “thank yous” and “good jobs” in hopes that this positivity will come back to you.
If you’re thinking kind thoughts about a colleague, say them. If you’ve been meaning to thank someone for the role they play in your life, do it. Get in the habit of speaking and writing your positive thoughts about others. Odds are, you’ll hear similar thoughts in return.
11. Reawaken Your Curiosity: Learn something new everyday.
Being a life-long learner is part of being a life-long teacher. Read about a subject matter that may or may not pertain directly to your content area. Show your students what love of learning looks like.
12. Play Student: Sit in on a colleague’s class to watch, enjoy, and learn from a peer.
The very best mentor and model you could have may be next door. Make time to watch other professionals in your building. Rather than analyzing the experience, enter into the experience with a goal of pleasure and enlightenment.
How do you enjoy your job? Share in the comments section!